The walk this Sunday was through Cosgrove Country Park. The weather was cool with a bright blue sky, an ideal day for walking. The start point was the Barley Mow in the village of Cosgrove. Cosgrove, or ‘Couvesgrave’ as it was called in the Doomsday records, means ‘a wooded area’. The village has a church, St Peters and St Paul, which dates back to the 13 Century with a 70 foot tower and six bells.
There is a hall dating back to the 18th Century which sadly was ravaged by fire in 2016. Standing on the south side of the canal it was built on the site of a Roman villa, Roman bath house and Temple.
After the normality of signing in and welcoming new members, including a local photographer, 20 of us took the path leaving the pub, down the road and under the Grand Union Canal via a horse tunnel. Being only just six foot high it reflects how small the horses were that pulled the barges.
A sharp right turn on exiting took us to the towpath. A linear track stretched out for half a mile up to the Iron Trunk Aqueduct taking the canal over the River Great Ouse. The first and only lock we were to pass marked the start of the Buckingham arm (aka Stratford arm), now a possible restoration project.
After crossing the Aqueduct a path and steps to the left brings us steeply down to the River Great Ouse and the entrance to the Country Park. The river stays on our left and follows the well maintained path for much of our journey.
Turning left over a bridge over a side stream flowing from the reserve into the Great Ouse, we stopped to allow stragglers to catch up and consume our snacks. Further on we enter the reserve by the Viaduct hide gate and followed a fenced path past the first bird hide. On reaching the Trunk bird hide we exited the reserve, the curving path taking us back to the steps leading up to and over the Aqueduct.
Retracing our route along the canal and through the horse tunnel, we were back at the Barley Mow. The Sunday carvery was locally sourced beef and Old Spot pork. A tasty end to our walk.